Nearly two years ago I came out. That’s right; I came out and told the world (via my blog) that I live with depression.
In December 2012 I acknowledged my obesity to the world along with how I was going to create a new healthy lifestyle. I never thought in a million years I would talk about living with a mental illness. Losing the weight and becoming healthier has meant so much more since being able to stand up and be counted. Don’t get me wrong – I was scared to do it.
If you get nothing else from today’s post, I want you to know – you are not alone. I know that may sound a little manufactured, but it’s true.
Just over ten years ago I was diagnosed with depression. For years I was guarded about my little secret. Too embarrassed that I would be judged or ridiculed if people found out. Initially this saw me only confiding in my close friends who supported me through the dark times.
Now I am not afraid to share I have a mental illness.
I cannot wait to live in a world where we treat people with mental illness no different to those who have asthma or a broken leg.
According to the Black Dog Institute;
“Every year, one fifth of the Australian population is diagnosed with a mental illness such as depression or anxiety. Many more experience the symptoms without seeking help.“
Michelle Bridges, well-known fitness expert is an Ambassador for the Black Dog Institute. Michelle says;
“There’s so much research out there that shows how exercise benefits depression and mental health, and I’ve personally seen many of my clients improve dramatically though a more active lifestyle.”
Some of the greatest benefits that come from all my exercise are:
- I’m sleeping better,
- Feeling more energetic,
- Vast decline in the effects of depression.
I’m not saying that exercise has cured my depression. I just know that daily exercise helps.
There still are days that challenge me, whereby all I want is to stay in bed with the doona pulled up over my head. My new love of exercise is more often than not what gets me to swing my legs out of bed, and get moving.
If you’re thinking; “there is no way I’m leaving the house, let alone go for a 20 minute walk.” Then don’t go. But do you remember how I started exercising in the beginning? I played Wii Tennis in my LOUNGE ROOM – sitting down!
Okay, you don’t own a Wii – try one of the following:
- Dancing in the lounge room to your favourite music. (which I’ve done before and laugh so hard I nearly peed myself),
- Borrow a workout DVD from the library,
- Walk around the back yard (if you have one).
I get it – really I do. You just can’t be f$%^ed doing it. Then don’t. You have a choice.
But trust me when I tell you that in a short period of time you REALLY WILL notice a difference in the way you feel if you just give it a go.
Here in Australia last week was National Mental Health Week. It staggers me that we need a ‘special week’ to recognize an illness that is affecting 1in 5 of us. But if campaigns like this help demystify or remove any stigma attached to mental illness then it’s worthwhile.
Today get up and go for a walk – even if it’s just around the yard. Do it for 10 minutes. Keep trying it for a week. Then email me and tell me how you feel.
Let’s all work towards a world where we don’t judge those with mental illness.
If you are not sure where to start try:
Once of my gorgeous readers, Azadeh, asked me for a fennel recipe. Did you know that fennel is related to the parsley family, and is a great source of vitamin C?
I usually peel off the outer layer of the fennel, and then thoroughly wash the remainder.
Azadeh – as promised, not only one, but two recipes with fennel.
Chicken Burgers with Fennel
I love buy free range skin-less chicken breast meat and mincing it myself in the food processor.
500 grams free range skin-less chicken breast meat – mince it in your food processor – (or ask the butcher to mince it for you)
½ x cup grated carrot
1 x cup grated fennel
1 x teaspoon finely diced garlic
1 x teaspoon ground cumin
1 x teaspoon paprika (you can use chilli flakes if you prefer)
1 x tablespoon coconut flour
2 x large free range eggs – beaten
½ x cup quinoa flakes
1 x tablespoon coconut oil
Salt and pepper
To mince the chicken breasts in the food processor cut into large chunks using the ‘S’ blade. Process on high till all the meat is minced.
Before removing from processor bowl add garlic, cumin, and paprika – process on high for 1 minute.
Add chicken mixture to a large mixing bowl. Add grated carrot, fennel and quinoa flakes. Salt and pepper to taste. Using your hands mix thoroughly.
In a separate bowl add coconut flour and eggs – whisk together until you have a smooth mixture. Add to chicken mixture. Using your hands again thoroughly mix together.
Allow the mixture to sit in the fridge for 15 minutes before rolling into large balls, and place on a large plate.
Give the chicken mixture time to come back to room temperature before cooking.
Add coconut oil to large pan 1 teaspoon at a time – don’t over crowd the pan.
Add three chicken balls to frying pan and flatten with back of spatula to form burger pattie. Cook over medium heat for five minutes, then turn burger over to cook for (approx.) another 3-5 minutes.
As the burger patties are thick make sure they are cooked all the way through.
Burger patties can be frozen – wrap each individually so you can use them as you need.
Add burger pattie to the top of a large green salad of lettuce, cucumber, spring onion, coriander leaves. Top with beetroot dip topping.
Fennel and Iceberg Salad
Remove the large outside layer of the fennel, then give it a thorough wash in cold water before slicing.
2 x medium Lebanese cucumbers
2 x cups shredded iceberg lettuce
2 x spring onions – sliced thinly
2 x celery sticks – sliced thinly
1 x cup finely sliced fennel
1 x lime – Zest and juice
1 x teaspoon flaxseed oil
1 x fresh chilli – chopped finely
Salt and pepper to taste
Slice up the cucumber. Sprinkle with a little rock salt, and place in colander to drain.
Add to large bowl the spring onions, iceberg lettuce, fennel, celery, chilli, flaxseed oil, lime zest and juice.
Squeeze excess water from cucumber, then add to carrot mix. Using your hands, mix cucumber through.
Add salt and pepper to taste. Just before serving, using teaspoon – scoop dollops of avocado on top of salad.
Top with tuna or sliced chicken; also great to use in a wrap with chicken or tofu.
Keep sharing the love,